The Useful Duck!

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

My theory is that Aliens were responsible for the recent air disasters

If I were rich, or if I had access to lots of people, I would delight in manipulating public opinion. In fact when Collieguy is elected president I really want to be propaganda minister.
Read this article about the recent airplane crash.
Friends of the guy who crashed the plane claim he was framed to cover up mechanical failures in the plane.
My theory is mind control. He crashed the plane because there was an important US spy on the plane. But, I digress...
If you come up with a theory and you say it loudly and forcefully enough, and you repeat it frequently, someone will believe it. Then another person will believe it and then you have a movement. Especially if you have been eating prunes....
Off topic again...
My second strong opinion. Look at the inset about German privacy laws. We should have those laws. Anything reported in confidence to a therapist, Dr. or Clergy should be strictly protected by privacy laws. If you don't encourage people to talk about their problems, confess their sins, they will bottle it up and go nuts... Prosecution of potential crimes is making thought into crime.
The clergy/therapist/Dr. should encourage the person to turn themselves in, could have the option of reporting a crime if it is particularly horrible or you suspect lives will be endangered but you should also take the risk of a civil lawsuit if you are wrong.
For example, if you report a parent for child abuse and the kid was not abused, you and CPS should be open to a lawsuit.
Third, look at the headline on the inset, Privacy laws to protect Nazi's? Another direct attack on established personal liberty and privacy of citizens.
Forth, Aliens harvested the brains of the people on doomed airliner, has anyone found any brains? nope, is a coverup... Aliens are transplanting the brains of doomed airplane passengers and creating a invasion force of robot banjo players who have real human brains incased in a mechanical body. They will take over the world by playing incredibly depressing Bluegrass music over all the public radio stations. It is going to be brutal.
That is why I wear a stainless steel strainer on my head which is grounded to my Romeo slip on shoes. (I built it on the advice of a fellow blogger. Thanks, I've not seen an alien in at least a month, of course the voices I hear in my head at night could be from me leaving the shop radio tuned to KBOO and left on at night, or cats)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

I finally buy the motorcycle I've wanted since 1984 and am not disappointed

Today I bought a motorcycle.
Most likely you have never heard of the Honda Ascot VT500FT. It was not a big seller.
(Although I think it had more of a life with a quarter fairing and a bigger gas tank in Europe and the UK as the VT500E.)
The Ascot had somewhat of an identity crisis.
The Honda Ascot VT500 was produced from 1983-84. It suffered a bit of an identity crisis in the USA.
The engine was a 52 degree V-Twin. This same engine was used in the embarrassingly horrible Honda Shadow and perhaps that stigma carried over. However, the engine is quite interesting. Honda offset the crankpins to overcome the vibration inherent in design, without using power hogging counter balancers. The result was a slim well mannered engine with plenty of torque.
The Ascot VT built on the Ascot 500 single was quick and nimble around town and on narrow country roads but which had a reputation of being underpowered on the straight aways. The addition of the V-Twin gave it better power in the top end but it just never caught on with buyers.
I've wanted one since reading the reviews in Cycle World in 1984. I liked the styling, while it is inspired by the famous Ascot track it is obviously not a flat-tracker. However, it is a light weight (425lbs) basic motorcycle, shaft drive, disk front brake, comfortable upright sitting position, and just a basic nice handling simple motorcycle. Something fun to ride. Which is exactly what I have always wanted in a motorcycle.
Sort of like my Triumph but with electric start, reliable electronics, non-vibrating handlebars.

I really like it.
This is an amazing thing for me to admit. I always have buyer's remorse. I almost never buy something and have it be better than I expected. I'm almost always disappointed.
I was impressed after the first corner. It is light weight, and while it doesn't have the midrange torque of the Triumph, it corners very well. It is a very comfortable motorcycle to ride.
I almost bought Scooter Boy's BMW R65 but he was stuck at $2,000 and I was not so thrilled about the BMW. Seemed a bit stodgy.
Took my daughter for a nice long ride. We took the back roads to the Dairy Queen and had strawberry sundaes. She had a big grin on her face. She likes it.
What more to life is there?

Note: I should also give credit to my wife who told me it she thought I should buy the Ascot. When one's wife gives you the approval to buy things like Studebakers or Dynaco amplifiers, or motorcycles you should always say "Thank You Very Much." Also, a thanks to my brother-in-law in Eugene who was going to go look at the Ascot with me, and when a friend came over to help me spread fertilizer and I couldn't leave, went ahead and looked at the Ascot and then called me and told me if I didn't buy it he was thinking about buying it for himself, and then he actually bought it and showed up with it at my house today and build a railing for our wheelchair ramp.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Stone monuments

These two stones mark the edge of a farm road. Can someone tell me why I expect to see the name Ulysses chiseled into one of them?

Does this come from literature or from reading Mad magazine as a child?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Then and now

Have been cleaning house in anticipation of wife's father coming to live with us.
I found some old photos.

This is the baling crew twenty years ago...


This was the baling crew last year....
Note: Not the same persons...

Have a nice day...

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I found my coffee cup, but is it from today or last week?

One never knows. Hate to take a sip. It was a little cold...
Could have been there a couple years. Or an hour.
Took a test which predicts dementia. Think I need to buy long term care insurance. I'd point the survey out to you all but I can't remember where I saw it. I'm fairly sure losing one's coffee cup was one of the questions on the list but also can't quite remember that one either.
I think it is going to be a very long summer.
If I ever get that far...


Monday, March 23, 2015

I knock the neighbor's barn down

Last week I delivered a load of hay to the neighboring Dairy. It was quite the ordeal.
First I had to move all the boxes of feed and broken pallets of baler twine from in front of the stack of hay I sold to the dairy three months ago and never got around to delivering.
Then I had to find a motorized squeeze to load the 3 ton blocks (56 bales to a block) on the truck. Then I had to drive the truck and the squeeze to the Dairy.
Then I had to wedge the blocks into random spots at the dairy while dodging manure piles and holes in the concrete cover over the manure pit.
I knocked over a post holding up half the hay barn.
Jose was helping me but he turned away to answer a phone call and I was trying not to drive in the manure pit and didn't see that a bale was sticking out of the stack.
It hit the post and down came the barn with a loud crash.
The dairyman was not amused.
He came out and started swearing at me.
I said, "um Sorry? I you do realize I didn't do this on purpose..."
He swore some more....
And rather impolitely asked me why I hit his post.
"Um... I'm not very good at driving the squeeze?" said I.
Jose and I figured out how to lift the barn back up with the squeeze and the dairyguy used his tractor at the same time.
Jose then left. Thinks are bad if Jose leaves. I don't think he likes conflict.
This is the repaired post.
Note the three blocks of concrete holding it up....

This is an IMPROVEMENT over how it was supported before I hit it.
Have a nice day...
A friend of mine suddenly died. Perhaps I'll post about him. He was a very interesting fellow...

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Last Sunday

Last Sunday my daughter and I went to Salem and I purchased several record albums. I am supposed to be working on my end of year book keeping but since First Federal redid their website I can no longer retrieve past statements. I will have to make a trip to the bank Monday.
I discovered my Scott tube amp was not as damaged as I thought, although the Rek-O-Kut turntable must be rewired.
I have been listening to the Allman Brothers, "Beginnings," which I bought because someone commented on one of the songs on this blog and then I forgot which song and who commented.
I connected the tape out on the Harman Kardon 330c to the Scott so that I could get four speakers. The HK is connected to my refoamed Baby Advents and the Scott is hooked to Dynaco A25's.
I was expecting a nice warm bluesy sound.
It kind of sounded dead. No much high range.
So I put on my own Tom Petty, "Southern Accents" album. It sounded very nice. Plenty of high range, turned down the treble a bit. Nice crisp midrange, Tom's voice sounded a little less fuzzy around the edges.
And this is the problem with vinyl albums. Every time you play them you loose a little fidelity. They wear out. The record may look pristine but you can't see in the grooves.
All things must perish....
But, I digress...
My plan was to walk around downtown, try a coffee shop, look at odd little shops in the historic Reed Opera House Mall, and I would work in a couple record stores, which she does not like, and perhaps a couple bookstores, which she does like.
But then I realized I had to finish up my bookwork.
The local bank has decided to make their website more exciting with graphics and fancy stuff and a user agreement that of course puts most of the responsibility for screw-ups on the customer. So, at the critical point I discovered I can't access my archived e-statements and I came to a dead end.
So we went to Salem.
The plan was to see "Unbroken" at 4:30 and get something to eat.
I found a new record store on Yelp. It had pretty funny reviews. The owner has been a little harsh with a few customers. When people show up with the standard old person's scratchy record collection of Mitch Miller, Marty Robbins, Tijuana Brass, the owner sometimes insults them. One lady said he chased her from the shop and kept the good records.
I thought this would be good for some amusement.
The daughter was not impressed.
We found the store which was next to a Pizza by the Slice place and so we decided to regroup. After a large slice of pizza we decided to try the store.
The store was interesting. There was a huge collection of CD's which I didn't care about and didn't look at. I was impressed by his vinyl collection. There was a section of alphabetized bins, but there were also random boxes of records under the CD racks, under the record bins, leaned up against the counter, piled on the floor, in no apparent order.
The owner welcomed us to his store and assured us that as first time customers we would get quite a good deal. He asked me what I was looking for.
I was looking for Albert Collins. The owner directed me to a cardboard box under the record bins. He said he had but a few blues albums but he personally enjoyed blues music.
I found three albums, Jr. Walker and the Allstars, "A gasssss", The Allman Brother's, "Beginnings," and Elvin Bishop, "Struttin My Stuff."
They were sealed with what I think was a "seal a meal," and so I couldn't check the condition of the vinyl and they were marked with random prices but I really wanted "Beginnings," as is it the first two Allman Brothers albums in one double album.
We had to wait quite a while as the owner discussed the merits of collecting CD's and his expectation that Cassettes will be the collectors choice of the future. Cause I'm pretty sure Iron Oxide bonds to plastic forever and half the point of vinyl collecting is our dislike of digital.
I said nothing but patiently waited.
Eventually it was my turn.
The owner spent quite a bit of time scanning the records into his computer and calculating prices, there was great ceremony which cutting open the shrink wrap and presenting the records for inspection. They were in fine condition. Then he upset everything by pointing out The Paul Butterfield Blues Band record, which I picked up.
Everything had to be recalculated and a special deal had to be made to a first time customer. I ended up paying a little above my max price of $3 per album.

Later that evening I looked up the albums on Amazon. I was excited to find the Allman Brothers listed on Amazon for $299. I thought I was rich until I checked ebay.
I could buy the album for $13.99 with free shipping.
Oh well.
They were all in good condition.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Random

HI have useful and interesting blog topics which I have yet to post about.
1. I no-till planted peas and have the addresses for places to buy good inoculant as local farm supply stores do not stock it.
2. The peas are up
3. My father-in-law is coming to live with us.
4. A funny story
5. I am looking at a BMW R-65 because scooter boy's wife left him and he owes me money for pig feed and he is selling everything. I thought is was a BMW R65SL or LS or something which is kind of a sport bike and kind of neat. But it is not anything special.
6. Farming, blah, blah, blah...

But I have not been online much lately.

Sunday, my daughter and I went to see "Unbroken."
I kept thinking about the differences in attitude between the America which I grew up with and the America of today.
I grew up reading old books. I understand that the myth of American Exceptionalism was not always a myth. I read the same books and had similar cultural influences growing up as the people who won WW2. Sort of a time machine upbringing. Books from the turn of the century, old grandparents. Lectures on self reliance, personal responsibility, fairness, doing the right thing, God, pulling yourself by your own bootstraps and so on.
I believe my uncle went though Germany and France without ever getting a French hooker or drinking beer or probably even swearing. I suspect it was entirely possible.
Of course this is no longer a proper cultural understanding. Everyone has a flaw and we celebrate our flaws and those are what give us a nuanced understanding of life.
Rates of depression have not declined with that viewpoint, but as my belief in my own exceptionalism fails, so does my ability to get out of bed in the morning...

The other thought that really influenced how I viewed the movie was the understanding that the United States uses "enhanced interrogation techniques." Watch the Japanese use "stress techniques," on Allied Prisoners and then imagine that in a US prison camp. Compare Japanese prison guards to people you know who work at prisons. You realize that people who are brutal prison guards go home and hug their children and have gardens and hobbies and are quite normal.
One of the great unlearned lessons from WWII was that ordinary people will do horrible things when given the opportunity.

Have a nice day...

Edit: Talking about American Exceptionalism because I'm American and should think I am the best. Canadians should disagree with me and so should Brits. Well I don't know about Brits and their warm beer and everyone knows Aussies are a bunch of wankers...
And Canadiens talk funny...


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Rain

I finally got a start planting our own fields on Friday.
The plan was to plant two rows of oats and one row of fescue. I use the small seeds box for the fescue. Since I am planting fescue every third row I use two tubes from the small seeds into one row. One tube goes into the cup on the main box and the other drops in the row behind the v-opener.
I have little plugs that I block every third row in the main box and then the oats go in the main box.
I decided to make little cardboard dividers for the small seeds so it would be easier to run the seed down. The small seed box has a flat bottom and with rows plugged off it is hard to run it down. I have a hard time guessing the seed rate anyway so I don't want to keep 50lbs in the drill so it will work.
I soon got quite confused and called on my daughter to help. She also got confused as to which rows needed to be blocked off but quickly figured it out. She is much smarter than I.
We figured out that we should use the chart for 11.5" spacing as we were using 16 instead of 24 rows. There is no chart for 11.5" spacing so I guessed.
I ended up with 10lbs per acre on one side and six on the other.
The goal was 5-7lbs. I should have just used one tube and set it wide open.
I planted until well after dark.
My shoulder started hurting (the side I use to steer with), Clive Lewis started freaking me out with the Lunar wave, doors to other dimensions, and the end of the world due to particle accelerators, and I got lost driving in the dark.
The way it works is that the oats are harvested and the fescue rows remain. For like six years... So if you don't drive straight then GoogleEarth photographs you and other farmers pour over GoogleEarth photos and shame other farmers who don't drive straight, (I imagine).
So I quit. I mean, the world is falling apart anyway why does it matter if I get the fescue planted or not?
It is now raining....
Oh, poop....
Have a nice day!
Where did I pick up a knurled metal knob? I can unscrew it from the tire. I didn't.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Pea-ing in a Filbert Field

Yesterday I no-tilled peas between rows of newly planted filbert hazelnut trees.
It was going to be 25 acres but I didn't get there in time and all that was left was a ten acre triangle which was really only six acres when you deduct the tree rows.
The peas came in bulk 2000lb bags so there was a bit left over. 

I'm really glad the train didn't jump the track and explode. Probably not much danger of explosion with an empty lumber train.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A well kept farmstead

It is a beautiful thing

My posts are shorter when I blog with my iPhone whilst driving go in circles in a field.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

A statement and a question

1. I don't want to go to work today...

2. In what field did I leave my pickup?

I can't find my pickup, perhaps more coffee... If I wait long enough the farmer whose house my drill is parked at will vacuum it out and perhaps fill it for me.
And I will bet you dollars to doughnuts I will need diesel in the transfer tank.

Friday, March 6, 2015

No news is good news

I hit the sending unit with a wrench!
And down the road I go...

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Perhaps it is just the gauge


This was my oil pressure at 9 pm last night.

This is planting schedule for this week.
This is what happens when I actually need GPS to map a field and figure acres left so know how much seed to load.


This is a truck load of peas. 40 acres at 150lbs/acre.

This is the size of a $3 mocha at Amity Foods. I swear it was two scoops of Swiss Miss!

Note: posting with iPhone while waiting for diesel tank to fill. Thumb typing and random photos

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Taking a break


feel tired. It feels like I've been tired forever but I know it started a little before Christmas. (Well, it really started right before we left for Florida last year but that is another form of "weariness")
Part of it is my back. I need to do a "gofund me" page for an air ride seat.
I would probably go to the Dr. but I hear a lot of other people around me complaining of similar symptoms.
Probably the gubment spraying us again. I haven't see the sky trails but... Or radiation from Japan... Or my invisible duck is poisoning me...
Yesterday I sat down on the drill wallboard and stretched out my back. Must have sat there too long as the farmer I was working for came to check on me. I told him I was lazy. 
I charge by the acre not the hour.
Have a nice day... Or is it, get off my lawn...

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

I hear you knocking... I think...


Two rebuilt army truck engines that need to be converted to Ag engines, timing gear swap, manifolds, turbo, waterprump, injector pump, but I didn't get it done.
Maybe it is the front weights rattling...

Monday, March 2, 2015

So, the chickens didn't QUIT laying

Just opted for a penthouse suite in the haystack skyscraper apartment complex.

Movin' on up!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

People who deserve a second look

My wife met an interesting fellow at a home and garden show. His name is Leo D. Mock and he has a book on compost. It is self published. He is having a hard time getting respect in the organic community.
The name of the book is "Compost by any other name, makes good dirt." I'd like to buy it but I have yet to purchase "Holy Shit," by Gene Logsden. Plus, I rarely get a book completely read anyway so I probably won't actually read it in full.
Perhaps one of my dear readers would check it out and give the guy a plug. He is quite sincere and a fellow who is passionate about soil.

In other news, my chicken raising friend, the Harlan Sanders of Red Prairie Road, has a gofundme page to save his farm. I tried to donate $5 but Safari on the iPhone went into an endless loop and I gave it up. I encourage you all to visit the page and donate a fiver. I believe strongly in trickle down economics, thank you very much...